Engaging in physical activity can reduce the risk, while factors like high body weight, alcohol consumption, and eating processed meat can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Approximately 45% of colorectal cancer cases in the western world could have been prevented with healthier living habits.
You can do a lot to help keep your body healthy. Some choices will affect your health more than others. However, it's important to adopt a healthy diet and overall lifestyle to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
While good living habits can contribute to a healthy life, they don't guarantee protection against colorectal cancer. If you experience persistent bowel problems, it's important to consult a doctor. Participating in ColorectalScreen Norway may lower your the risk of colorectal cancer-related deaths.
Being physically active helps control body weight, stabilize blood sugar levels, and has other positive effects. Adults are recommended to engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. This means avtivity that results in faster breathing than usual, such as brisk walking.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of colorectal cancer.
When we are overweight, our fatty tissue releases hormones and pro-inflammatory substances that can harm our body. The more overweight we are, the higher the risk of these harmful substances. Maintaining a normal body weight is important for overall health and helps prevent cancer and other diseases.
A normal weight is typically defined as a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2. For example, a person who is 170 cm tall should weigh between 54 and 72 kilos to be considered normal weight. People who are overweight or obese have a 5-10% higher risk of developing colorectal cancer compared to those with a normal weight. You can calculate your BMI using online BMI calculators.
Drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer. There is no known safe limit for alcohol intake to prevent colorectal cancer. Even consuming one unit per day for women or two units per day for men can increase the risk. A unit of alcohol can be, for example, a glass of wine, a small bottle of beer, or 4 cl of spirits.
Smoking increases the risk of colorectal cancer. The more cigarettes smoked, the higher the risk. If you smoke, you have on average 18% higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than a non-smoker. Quitting smoking reduces the risk.
To minimize the risk of colorectal cancer, it is recommended to have a diet that includes plenty of whole grains and high-fiber foods, moderate amounts of dairy products, limited amounts of red meat, and minimally processed meat. Fruits and vegetables are also important in a healthy and varied diet.
Whole grains and fiber
Good sources of fiber include whole grain products like bread, oatmeal, rice, and pasta made from whole grains. Other sources of fiber are vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and peas.
To ensure enough fiber intake, it is recommended to consume 70-90 grams of total flour or whole grain per day. This could be achieved by having five slices of whole grain bread or a combination of oatmeal and whole grain pasta.
Consuming 90 grams of whole grain products daily can lower the risk of colorectal cancer by 17% compared to not consuming any whole grain products. Whole grain products have various positive effects on intestinal health, including a beneficial impact on the gut microbiome.
Consuming dairy products may help protect against colorectal cancer, likely because of their high calcium content.
If you consume 400 grams of dairy products daily, your risk of developing colorectal cancer is 13% lower compared to not consuming any dairy products. 400 grams of dairy products is approximately equal to two glasses of milk.
Processed and red meat
Processed meat refers to meat products that are cured, salted, smoked, or have additives for longer shelf life. Examples include sausages, bacon, salami, meatballs and other products from minced meat.
Red meat refers to meat from mammals like cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats. It can be part of a healthy diet, but it's important to be mindful of the amount and type of meat you consume.
To reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, it's recommended to limit red meat intake to 500 grams per week, which is about two dinners with red meat and some cold cuts. Make wise choices when selecting meat to promote your overall health.